Single atom alloy catalyst for electrocatalytic CO2 reduction


Climate change induced by a variety of human greenhouse gas emitting activities has the potential to negatively impact our natural environment, public health, and nation state economies.  Carbon dioxide (CO2)is one such greenhouse gas targeted for significant reduction by numerous international conventions\treaties and in some jurisdictions is subject to carbon tax penalties. There is thus a demand for technologies to reduce CO2 emissions to assist industry sectors (such as oil\gas, chemical, steel, and transportation, etc) to meet reduction targets. Current electrocatalytic methods to convert CO2 into valuable C1 and C2+ products suffer from low Faradaic efficiency rendering such methods economically impractical.

Description of the invention

C2+ products have higher energy density and thus higher economic value than C1 products. A novel catalyst material has been developed which can convert CO2 to multi-carbon products (e.g. ethylene, ethanol) which, when factoring in the use of a renewable electricity source, results in high faradic efficiency (94%) making the conversion economics viable.


For industries with a source of on-site (or nearby adjacent and accessible) renewable electricity, this technology will lower the cost for industries to convert CO2 to ethanol and ethylene or other value-added products. In addition to producing valuable products, the associated lowering of CO2 may represent a source of carbon credits that can be used to offset other operating emissions or sold into the carbon credit marketplace.

Potential applications

  • Reduce CO2 emissions at industrial sector sources
  • Produce ethanol and ethylene as selling products
  • Energy storage device for electricity (as chemical energy in ethanol, electricity being regenerated using fuel cell)
Graphical depiction of a single atom alloy catalyst for electrocatalytic CO2 reduction

Accessible PDF



Patent status

US Provisional Patent, 63/473,924

Stage of development

Prototype in the lab


Scott Inwood
Director of Commercialization
Waterloo Commercialization Office
519-888-4567, ext. 43728